Shadows of The Cavern
What is evil? The Cavern. Can you elaborate? No.
Interview with the Denizens of the Quarantine: Gignō
The larval form looks like a bladed maggot. Once it moves onto the Controller stage it can take almost any form, really. It all depends on what the writhing mass looked like before the Merging.
Genetics and Reproduction
During the first reproduction stage, the soon-to-be Controller reproduces asexually until there is enough of itself to conquer the host. Before joining, one impregnates the other, so the Controller is formed pregnant. In it's second reproduction stage, it gives live birth to more larvae.
Growth Rate & Stages
These creatures begin in a larval state, looking only as a worm with a barbed stinger. Once it makes contact with a host, it pulls itself in with its stinger and slowly worms its way into the host's skull. By the time it makes it into the skull, it reaches it's reproductive stage, where it continuously splits itself and regenerates until there's enough of itself to assert it's control over the host. Once in control, the individuals merge into one big blemish on the poor host's brain. Externally, there will be seemingly no problem, as the Shadows are capable of carrying simple conversations with others through the host. When the host becomes too damaged to use, the Shadows quickly find a new host. This is often done by luring a loved one of the host to The Cavern. The transfer kills the previous host nearly every time. If the transfer is done before it reaches its second reproductive stage, the new host is used as a walking nursery. Once the body becomes too stuffed with these bladed maggots, the host is either forced to travel into the depths of The Cavern before death or forced to transfer some of the maggots into another. Because of this, most of the inhabitants of The Outskirts fear The Cavern, believing it's some sort of cesspool of evil. All of this can happen in the span of a week. By the third day the host no longer has control of itself, and by the fifth day it begins its maggot transfer. This partial transfer cannot kill the host, as the Controllers stay behind.
Ecology and Habitats
The hibernation ground of the Shadows Of The Cavern is the walls and floors of (surprise surprise) The Cavern. Because of the rocky terrain inside and the dim lighting, they are perfectly camoflauged.
Dietary Needs and Habits
If necessary, Shadows can go up to a month without finding a host if they aren't killed by some other creature. Once it finds one and reaches its Controller stage, it feeds off of the steady flow of blood at a slow enough pace that the host isn't dried out.
In colder seasons, the larvae harden their outer skin layers, making them nearly indistinguishable from stones. However, most try to find a host before then.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
The larval form of the Shadows can detect what's around them by sensing the "scents" that the air/wind may carry. Aside from that they can sense things by touch. Controllers, however, sense everything as the host does.
The Cavern Of From Beyond The Outskirts
No one can tell when the Shadows are present, and so they are feared. Most would end their own lives before risking infection. The Unknown is rarely protected.
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